The theme of the 2019-2020 Presidential Initiatives is grounded in four R’s: Recruit, Reaffirm, Recognize and Retain. Since announcing the Initiatives at the Annual Meeting in February, dates have been set for some of the events and others have already taken place. In addition to attending the first of our National events in South Boston, I have already presented greetings to both the Children of the American Revolution in Williamsburg and the Daughters of the American Revolution in Richmond, as well as attending ceremonies in both Culpeper and Oak Grove and the National Spring Leadership Meting in Louisville, Kentucky.
The importance of Recruiting is obvious. New members are the life blood of our organization. Recruiting, however, is more than just attracting and enlisting new members. As an incentive for recruiting new members, the Chapter grant program initiated by then President Mike Elston and continued under Past President Pat Kelly will continue. I am assured that the rebate checks to the eligible chapters will be going out in the next week or so. We need to continue our work with the CAR and DAR to obtain referrals of those who might be eligible for membership. Recruiting however also includes getting members to serve on Committees, Chapter, State and National, to serve as officers at those levels, and to attract and encourage youth to participate in our Youth Programs, including the Eagle Scout Program, The ROTC/JROTC Program, The Orations, Essay, Poster and Brochures Programs. Chapter or Chapters participating in the most of these programs will again be recognized by the Wayne and Wink Rouse Award. To facilitate youth participation, financial incentives are essential. The Mark S, Brennan, Jr. Fund has been in the forefront of allowing us as a State Society to increase those incentives. I therefore have challenged the Society to add at least $15,000 to this Fund and I will personally match the first $2,000 raised. My check has already been sent and I ask you to do the same. Chapters having individuals who contribute at least $1,000 will be recognized with a streamer and donations will be counted toward commissions or promotions in the First Virginia SAR Regiment. Contributions should be made payable to Virginia SAR, with the Brennan Fund indicated on the Memo line, and sent to our Society Treasurer, Rick Elofson, 21 Paula Maria Drive, Newport News, Virginia 23606.
The second R is for Reaffirm. Every time we recite the SAR Pledge, we commit ourselves to reaffirm our commitment to defend the principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic against every foe. As a means of doing so, I challenge you to make every effort to attend the four Nationally recognized events in the Commonwealth. The first of these, the Crossing of the Dan, took place the third week of February. The three remaining are Martin’s Station celebrated on May 11, Yorktown on October 19, and Great Bridge in early December. Chapters having members attending all four events will be recognized with a streamer. A monument will be dedicated later in the year honoring the Culpeper Minutemen. Participation there will also be recognized with a streamer. We also will again be joining with the Society of the War of 1812 in Virginia and will be participating in two ceremonies on June 1, the first a grave marking ceremony at the Cedar Grove Ceremony at 10:00 and the second a plaque dedication at 11:30 at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Portsmouth, Virginia. A program to place markers or monuments honoring patriots and War of 1812 veterans buried or memorialized in each of Virginia’s counties at the Courthouse or other significant location, similar to the recognition given to World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and more recent conflicts has been launched, we expect to dedicate one in Warren County this fall, and further hope to continue this project in years to come. We are also looking ahead, and as part of our Strategic Planning will develop a multi-year plan so that future dedications can include the DAR and veteran’s organizations in such recognition programs.
The third R is to Recognize. Here there is some overlap with the second R, but as envisioned, we need to focus on recognizing and rewarding those who participate in our programs, giving their time energy, and money to advance our cause. Our Youth Program participants, compatriots, spouses, schools, businesses, and friends who properly display the flag, public servants, particularly our first responders, and elected community officials all richly deserve recognition. 2019 also marks the 400th Anniversary of the arrival of indentured Afro-American at Jamestown and the Williamsburg Chapter’s its 50th Anniversary.
The last R is for Retain. The challenge here is to communicate with our members, to continuously solicit their input and provide the types of programs that will make them want to get involved. We ended 2018 with a modest but positive growth. Let’s build on it in 2019; it takes a concerted effort on all of our parts.
Chapter members plus 4th L to R, Celia Adolphi, Regent, Williamsburg Chapter, NSDAR; 5th, 6th 7th L to R, members of the Colonial Williamsburg Militia Unit acting as a color guard, drummer, and fifer. John Lynch, chapter compatriot, 2nd from L, spoke on the history of the Battle of Green Spring. 4th R to L, William Greaf, President, Williamsburg Chapter. Celia Adolphi and William Greaf presented wreaths. At center is a large granite marker placed by the Chapter 11 years ago. The marker records tribute to six Virginia militia and 22 Pennsylvania continentals buried near it, none of which have been identified. The location is near the historic Church-on-the-Main, outlined by marking stones.
The British army under Lord Cornwallis had been moving down the peninsula shadowed by Colonial units commanded by Lafayette and Anthony Wayne. But Cornwallis was then ordered to cross the James River and move to Portsmouth and the Jamestown ferry location was selected to do so. Planning a trap Cornwallis kept his main force hidden in a tree line starting at Gov. Berkeley’s plantation along a causeway – now Green Springs Road – leading to Jamestown. General Wayne’s troops prevented a disastrous defeat by charging the British causing them to temporarily halt. The result was a draw and successful withdrawal by Colonial units. Cornwallis did not pursue and the next day was unopposed as his army ferried across the James.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
The Battle of Spencer’s Ordinary was fought on June 26, 1781 between Continental troops and Virginia Militia of the army of the Marquis de Lafayette and Loyalist and Hessian troops of the army of Lord Cornwallis. Patriot troops had been following the British as they moved down the peninsula towards Williamsburg and intercepted some of them near Spencer’s Ordinary, about six miles northwest of Williamsburg. There was a back and forth engagement ending in a draw and both sides then withdrew.
In the first image, Chapter compatriots, including Celia Adolphi, Regent of the Williamsburg Chapter NSDAR and Linda West, Senior President of the George Wythe Society C.A.R. in the center, are gathered around the presented wreaths and the Marker done by VASSAR in the year 2014.
In the second image, left to right, are William Greaf, President of the Williamsburg Chapter SAR, Linda West and Celia Adolphi with their organization’s wreaths.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
On July 11, the Colonel George Waller Chapter presented a Flag Appreciation Certificate to Darrel & Shelly Peay of Martinsville, VA. Mr. Peay served in two branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. He served two tours in Viet Nam including with the Military Assistance Command and helped organized the first unit of Republic of Viet Nam Army Rangers. He is a disabled veteran suffering the effects of Agent Orange from his time “in country.” Photo below: Bob Vogler (Left) and Darrel Peay (right). Submitted by Bob Vogler.
On July 4, the Rev. Thomas Costa, portraying Parson Lee Massey, colonial Rector of Historic Pohick Church and a Patriot of the American Revolution, read the Declaration of Independence from the pulpit of historic Pohick Church. This is the same church that George Washington and George Mason served as vestrymen. It is fitting too that the remains of Parson Massey were reinterred under that very pulpit in the early 1900s. 115 were in attendance, which is a large increase in attendance over last year’s Independence Day observation at Pohick. Compatriot Paul Walden served as usher and bell ringer, and introduced Parson Massey. Compatriot Dick Hamly, a docent at Pohick Church, then gave tours to visitors after the service. Submitted by Paul Walden
The Col. James Wood II Chapter was involved with a number of Fourth of July activities this year. The first occurred at the Walking Mall in Winchester, Va on Thursday July 3rd starting at 4 pm and ending with a wonderful fireworks display. The Color Guard helped to open the evening's event by presenting the colors and the crowd singing the National Anthem. Other members were on the Mall with an information booth in continental attire, giving out SAR / Chapter information and Betsy Ross Flags to the children (photo 1). On the 4th, Compatriot Brett Osborn read the Declaration of Independence to those gathered on the walking mall in Winchester (photo 2)
Photo #1 L-R CJWII President Dale Corey, VP Marc Robinson, Marty Keesecker Gen. Adam Stephens Chapter (dual member), and Vangy Robninson
Photo #3 Declaration of Independence Reading L-R Lon Lacy, Alan Lacey, Paul Chase, Mike Tomme, Mike Dennis, Craig Trusky, Marc Robinson, Tom Hamill, Charles Jameson, Alonzo Lacey, Bill Schwetke.
On the Fourth, Color Guard member, Marc Robinson assisted the Culpeper Chapter with their celebration reading of the Declaration of Independence on the Culpeper Court House Lawn (photo 3), while our compatriot Paul Christensen marched with the Color Guard in the local Leesburg 4th of July parade (photo 4, far right).
This year the surrounding SAR Chapters have stepped up to help each other's events to help spread the word and present a bigger presence at each event. Other Chapters represented were: Culpeper Minutemen Chapter, James Monroe Chapter, Col. William Grayson Chapter, Fairfax Resolves Chapter.
Submitted by Bill Wood
As part of a tradition that spans 58 years, the George Washington Chapter organized an Independence Day Commemoration at George Washington's Mount Vernon. The parade up the bowling green in front of the mansion was led by VASSAR Color Guard Commanders, Pete Davenport and Bill Schwetke and a full contingent of VASSAR Color Guardsman. Chapter Vice President, Jay Henn served as Master of Ceremonies, Chapter President, Dave Thomas delivered an address, greetings were offered by VASSAR President, Pete Davenport and VADAR State Regent, LeAnn Turbyfill, and VASSAR Orations Contest winner, Ms. Lauren Bradshaw, delivered her speech. The event concluded with a wreath laying at General Washington's tomb by George Washington Chapter past President, Ernie Coggins and George Washington Chapter compatriot John Brigden. Members of the SAR, DAR, CAR and public were then invited to lay carnations at the entrance to George and Martha Washington’s tomb. Over 45 members from the George Washington, George Mason, Fairfax Resolves, Culpeper Minutemen, Richmond, Col. William Grayson and Fincastle Resolutions VASSAR Chapters participated in the event. In addition, 3 compatriots from the MDSSAR John Paul Jones Chapter joined in the march. Of special note, the VADAR had an excellent representation with 19 DAR Chapters represented, led by newly installed Mrs. LeAnn Turbyfill, VADAR State Regent. In all, over 120 individuals participated in the ceremonies. After that wreath laying ceremony, GWSAR Vice President, Jay Henn participated in the Mt. Vernon Naturalization Ceremony for 51 new citizens in leading their first Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
Image 1: Members of the Williamsburg Chapter sponsored and attended its 34th Annual Service of Prayer of Thanksgiving at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church in the morning of July 4th. Rev. Charles Mullaly, officient, is fourth from left.
Image 2: Members of the Williamsburg Chapter attended the 45th Annual Commemorative Ceremony Honoring Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The wreath laying by the Williamsburg Chapter, NSDAR took place at noon at the Harrison family cemetery, Berkeley Plantation, Charles City, Virginia. The James River is in the background.
Image 3: Two descendants of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, were recognized at the Ceremony – Randolph Taylor, Compatriot of the Williamsburg Chapter SAR and Barbara Rooney, Member of the Williamsburg Chapter NSDAR. From L to R: Randolph Taylor; Barbara Rooney; Celia Adolphi, Regent, Williamsburg Chapter, NSDAR; William Greaf, President, Williamsburg Chapter, SAR; Cynthia Gunther, Member Williamsburg Chapter, NSDAR (aka Mrs. Elizabeth Harrison).
Submitted by: Harley Stewart
In recognition of Independence Day, on July 3, Paul Walden, Chapter Flag Chairman, presented the SAR Flag Certificate to four business in the Groveton area of Alexandria: Chris Piscitilli, representing the Mount Comfort Cemetery on Kings Highway, was presented with a certificate. The interesting fact about this cemetery is that until recently, it had one a replica of the Houdon statue of George Washington that stands in the Virginia State House. However, the statue has been returned to the Masonic Temple in Alexandria. Assistant Manager Annisa, for the Boston Market Restaurant on Richmond Highway, received the second certificate. Cyprus Air and Heating Company, also on Richmond Highway, has perhaps the largest United States Flag flying in front of their building. Ted Kennedy received the certificate on behalf of that firm. Finally, a certificate was presented to Jan Kelly, Assistant Manager for the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks Lodge 758, also on Richmond Highway. These four business have prominent locations on major commuter routes in Alexandria and their proud display of the United States Flag inspires many citizens on their daily commute. Submitted by Paul Walden.
Tabitha (Tab) Broyles and Rachel Moore’s topic was the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) Teacher Institute. This is the 30th Anniversary of the Institute and since 1990 it has welcomed 9,300 teachers from 120 school districts to Colonial Williamsburg for training in the teaching of American History. The Institute experience provides teachers with many approaches including innovative, engaging strategies to bring history to life in the classroom. The excitement, inspiration and techniques are brought back to their schools and classrooms.
The Williamsburg Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution has provided scholarships to teachers to enable attendance at the Institute - Rachel Moore in 2018 and Amy Yaugo in 2019.
Pictured (left) Rachel Moore and (right) Tab Broyles of the Colonial Williamsburg Teacher Institute are presented with Certificates of Appreciation by (center) Jay Smith, Vice President of the Williamsburg Chapter.
Submitted by: Harley Stewart